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From October 7 to 13, the Boulder Mante Sister City committee hosted two guests from its corresponding committee in Mante, Mexico. One of the guests was Dr. Jose Guillermo Sainz, a family doctor and the other was Luis Alberto Cruz, an architect and past president of the Mante Rotary Club.

The purpose of their visit was to reignite the sister city relationship in Mante by taking back stories and video about Boulder to share with the residents of Mante.

Alberto and Guillermo said that the door is now open for Boulderites to return to Mante. The height of the criminal activity in Mante occurred about five years ago, which caused the Boulder Community Hospital to cancel its annual medical campaign. For the last two years, however, conditions have improved dramatically. People now enjoy normal routines including shopping, visiting and going to events in the evening. As an example of current conditions, it was noted that Rotary had hosted some 18 youth exchange students in recent years with no safety issues. Guillermo was particularly interested in having guests return to Mante for fishing, especially fishing for black bass. Alberto and Guillermo agree that while Mante is not paradise, it’s as safe as any place in Mexico these days.

During their stay the following topics were discussed:

  • A reigniting of the teacher exchange between our two communities. It was noted that several teachers still remain in touch by email
  • Our Mante guests viewed the “city in a suitcase” at the Boulder History Museum which has many items from Mexico that can be loaned out to student and scouting groups who wish to learn about Mante. Alberto and Guillermo are interested in creating a “city in a suitcase” about Boulder which could be circulated in Mante.
  • Guillermo reported that the dental equipment purchased by Boulder resident donations and a grant from Rotary have been incorporated into service in Mante and are valuable tools for dentistry in Mante.
  • The Mante guests were introduced at Boulder Rotary, where that club was reminded of the many Rotary grants that had been completed to equip the hospital, rehab facilities and clinics in Mante. The Boulder Club was reminded that they are sister clubs with Mante Rotary.
  • Our Mante guests were introduced to Dr. Rob Vissers, the new CEO of Boulder Community Health. A discussion followed about smaller medical teams returning to Mante and the possible assistance Boulder Community Health might provide in equipping the new rehab facility in Mante.  This could possibly be in connection with Project Cure.
  • The Mante guests expressed an interest in the short term for help with speech therapy and audiology screening.

As a result of this visit, it seems possible for a small delegation from Boulder to visit Mante in the near future for assessment and reconnection of our two committees and communities.

A special thanks to Elfa Rodriguez for her hosting of our visitors throughout their six day visit to Boulder.



The Eco, a Mante newspaper, featured a visit by the Municipal President of Mante, Pablo A. González León, to Boulder. The article includes a photo of the Municipal President, his wife, and members of the Boulder-Mante Sister City Committee in front of a mural painted by Mante muralist Florian Lopez, which was commissioned in 2001 commemorate the lasting bod between the two cities.

Florian Lopez had this to say about the article:

Es emocionante ver en tu periódico a mis amigos de Boulder: Norris Hermsmeyer y la Maestra Elfa Rodríguez acompañando al Ing. Pablo A. González León, Presidente Municipal de El Mante y a su esposa frente al mural que pinté en el 2001 en Colorado. Qué afortunada obra, realmente pequeña, junto a esa maravillosa campaña médica que duró 20 años beneficiando a miles de personas necesitadas. Por algunos días me pregunté si valía la pena pintar lejos de la familia y los amigos, pensé que mi esfuerzo sería ignorado como tantos proyectos. Ojalá mis amigos Chan Mortimer y su esposa tengan la oportunidad de conocer las esculturas y artesanías que comencé a pintar en su jardín.

Translation: It is exciting to see my friends from Boulder in your newspaper: Norris Hermsmeyer and the teacher Elfa Rodríguez accompanying the Municipal President of Mante, Pablo A. González León, and his wife against the mural I painted in 2001 in Colorado. What lucky piece, really small, next to that wonderful medical campaign that lasted 20 years benefiting thousands of needy people. Some days I wondered if it was worth painting away from family and friends, I thought that my efforts would be ignored as so many projects. I wish my friends Chan Mortimer and his wife have the opportunity to see the sculptures and crafts that I started painting in his garden.

In a ceremony led by the Mayor of Mante, Mexico, the “Rocky Mountain Stone” – a rock symbolizes the brotherhood between Boulder and Mante – was re-placed in Mante’s “Main Square.”

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This article in Mantex-Eso from earlier this month congratulates Boulder-Mante Board Member Erick Diaz for his good management of the Cruz Roja of Mante, which is in the black for the first time in many years. Good job, Erick!

Cruz Roja de El Mante sin problemas financieros: Erick Díaz de la Garza
Martes, 08 de Enero de 2013 14:19




Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas, México / Enero 08 de 2013 / Por / Jesús Avila Murillo / Por primera vez en muchos años la Delegación Mante de la Cruz Roja Mexicana se encuentra operando con aceptables condiciones económicas.

Esta afirmación fue hecha por el ingeniero Erick Díaz de la Garza quien se desempeña como presidente del Consejo de Administración de la benemérita institución en esta ciudad.

Señaló el ingeniero Díaz de la Garza que en el actual escenario administrativo se advierte la confianza participativa de la sociedad mantense, que ha sumado esfuerzos para el sostenimiento de nuestra noble institución.

En reciprocidad a esa generosidad de los habitantes de El Mante, personal y parque vehicular de la Cruz Roja se han mantenido atentos a los llamados de ayuda de la población.

En este caso, Díaz de la Garza manifestó que en los últimos días del año anterior, personal y ambulancias no tuvieron reposo acudiendo a cada momento a prestar servicio en el traslado de enfermos, pacientes de la tercera edad que acusaban síntomas de males respiratorios, además de atender y prestar auxilio a personas víctimas de los diversos accidentes carreteros que se registraron.

Reafirmó Erick Díaz de la Garza que si bien es cierto no se encuentran en abundancia, tampoco tienen mayores problemas económicos para continuar prestando su labor de auxilio a la población.

En estos momentos, dijo, la mayor necesidad que enfrenta la Cruz Roja mantense, es la de contar con una nueva ambulancia, debido a que las unidades con que cuenta han cumplido su ciclo de servicio con seguridad.

Última actualización el Jueves, 10 de Enero de 2013 14:58

Jaws of Life

Andrew Moschetti of Boulder’s Emergency Squad beside “jaws of life” and accompanying generator that were donated to the Cruz Roja (the Red Cross) in Mante, Mexico.

On Jan. 19, the Boulder Emergency Squad donated a “jaws of life” and accompanying generator to the Boulder-Mante Sister City Committee.  In turn, the Sister City Committee arranged for shipment of the equipment to Cruz Roja (the Red Cross) in Mante, Mexico.

Representing the Boulder Emergency Squad in the picture is Andrew Moschetti.

The jaws of life is an hydraulic rescue tool used by emergency rescue personnel to assist vehicle extrication of crash victims as well as other rescues from other small spaces.

According to Erick Diaz, this tool will be of great value to the Red Cross in Mante, which responds to emergencies beyond the city limits of Mante where the fire department does not go.

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Over 10 years ago, Jesper Frant, a high school student from Boulder, Colorado, went as an exchange student to sister city Mante, Mexico for a year. Today, Jesper recounts how life changing the experience was.

It’s impossible to overstate how pivotal my year in Mexico was in shaping my worldview and setting my goals for the future. Prior to my year abroad, I had traveled quite a bit with my parents and attended bilingual school. I knew Spanish and was comfortable traveling in foreign countries, but looking back, nothing could have prepared me for the experience of being fully immersed in another language, another family and another culture.

Not only did my experience studying abroad help shape my worldview, it has guided many of my most important life choices: to stay involved with the Boulder-Mante Sister Cities Committee, to study international affairs at the University of Colorado, to write my honors thesis on the plight and potential Mexican migrants living in the U.S., and to pursue a graduate degree in international development. But the most fundamental personal change I experienced as a result of my year abroad was developing a sense of empathy for those who – simply because of where they are born – cannot afford basic healthcare, a quality education, or even nutritious food and clean water.

Boulder and Mante share many things in common, but at no time were the differences more apparent than during the Boulder Community Hospital’s annual medical campaign. Volunteering as a translator during my year abroad, I saw thousands of people from hundreds of miles around Mante turn out for the opportunity to meet with the “gringo” doctors.

One day, an elderly blind man walked into the make-shift eye clinic to which I’d been assigned. The American doctors immediately diagnosed him with advanced cataracts, which had clouded his vision for over a decade. His condition had gone untreated due to a combination of insufficient access to properly trained medical professionals and limited availability of modern medical technology.

Guided by his granddaughter, the man was immediately moved to the front of the line, and within fifteen minutes his cataracts were removed and his vision was restored. I will never forget the look on his face, tears streaming from behind protective glasses, as he walked out of the operating room without the assistance of his granddaughter. “What a miracle. God bless you,” he repeated in a trembling voice as he hugged each American nurse and doctor.

Had this man been born in the U.S. his condition would have been treated years earlier. Unfortunately, the world is filled with this kind of basic inequality, but I believe that with a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work – as economist Jeffrey Sachs pointedly put it – “extreme poverty can be ended, not in the time of our grandchildren, but our time.”

Jesper was later elected to be a youth board member of the Boulder Mante Sister City Committee and has remained a board member ever since.

This article was published on Sister Cities International’s new website: http://www.sister-cities.org/news/pivotal-student-exchange-experience


In early April, 2012, the Mante Sister City committee presented the painting “Gratitud” by artist, Professor Silvia Maldanado Gonzalez to Boulder Community Hospital in appreciation of the twenty annual medical campaigns to serve the needs of the poor in Mante, Mexico. The painting will be placed in a special alcove of one of the new Boulder Community Hospital buildings under construction on Arapahoe Avenue.

“Gratitud” by Professor Silvia Maldanado Gonzalez

Plaque for "Gratitud" by Professor Silvia Maldanado Gonzalez
Plaque for “Gratitud” by Professor Silvia Maldanado Gonzalez

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In July, Mexico will elect a new president to replace Felipe Calderón. Whoever wins will need to address the foremost challenge confronting the country today: the battle against the drug cartels. And despite all the negative headlines, the next president will find that the government under Calderón has made huge gains toward defeating them.

When Calderón took office five years ago, there were roughly half a dozen cartels, each a large criminal organization in its own right. These illegal enterprises — the Gulf, the Juárez, La Familia Michoacana, the Sinaloa and the Tijuana cartels — dominated large swaths of Mexican territory and operated abroad as well.

Once he assumed the presidency, Calderón realized that he could not rely on the federal police, the Agencia Federal de Investigación, to restore order or track down the cartel leaders. The A.F.I. was riddled with corruption. Over the years, the cartels had bribed not only regional comandantes but also top-level officials at the agency’s Mexico City headquarters. The state police were even more unreliable. Often on the payroll of the cartels in their respective regions, they not only failed to cooperate with the federal police but also regularly protected the cartels and their leaders.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/opinion/16iht-edbonner16.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Calderón&st=Search

A delegation from Mante will visit Boulder in early April, 2012, hopefully led Dr. David Rodriguez, a founder of the medical mission. Additionally, up to 10 teachers who have been part of the teacher exchange between our two communities will also visit. Highlights of events for the group follow:

  • Dairy Center for the Arts: It has been 11 years since the Mural painted by Florian Lopez was completed on the north face of the Dairy Center Building at Walnut and 26th Street. Today, many people are unaware that the purpose of the gift by the City of Mante to Boulder was to honor the medical teams that had visited Mante over a 20 year period. A committee made up of members from the Dairy Center and the Sister City committee are developing a plaque or signage which will tell visitors to the Dairy Center about the origins of the Mural. It is planned that a ceremony will occur on April 1 to mark this new addition to the north wall of the Dairy Center.
  • First Presbyterian Church: Dr. David Rodriguez has been invited to give a “temple talk” at the 9:30 a.m. service on at Boulder First Presbyterian church on April 1. He will present a plaque to express thanks for the close relationship between the church and citizens of Mante over the years.
  • Boulder Community Hospital: The delegation will bring a piece of art to donate to Boulder Community Hospital in appreciation for the medical campaign led by BCH over the years. At the time of the dedication on April 2, the Boulder Mante Sister City committee will present a plaque to Erick Diaz of Mante. Erick has been a faithful servant to coordinate all 20 medical campaigns and an indispensable liaison to foster Sister City relationships for the past twelve years.
  • City Council Proclamation: The Mante delegation will visit City Council at the beginning of its meeting on April 3. A Proclamation will be read declaring April 1-7, 2012 Boulder Mante Sister City week.
  • Additional visits: Specific meetings are being arranged for the delegation to meet with Boulder dentists who wish to continue dental missions in the Mante region, with Boulder Rescue Service which has emergency response items to donate to the Red Cross (Cruz Roja) in Mante and with teachers in various bi-lingual programs in Boulder Valley Schools.

By Erica Meltzer Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 03/17/2012 12:01:25 PM MDT
Updated: 03/17/2012 12:02:41 PM MDT

Drug violence continues to make Mante too dangerous for Boulder volunteers to resume their annual medical mission to the small Mexican city, but later this month, a delegation from Mante will visit Boulder to reaffirm the 20-year relationship between the two communities.

The 15-member group, led by Dr. David Rodriguez, a founder of the medical mission, will be in Boulder from March 31 to April 5 and will meet with a variety of community groups, including Boulder Community Hospital officials.

Read more: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_20197160/delegation-from-mexican-sister-city-coming-boulder

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